Poster Paper: Where Does the “Utilization Gap” Come from? Rethinking Open APIs in E-Government

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ran Kim and Kilkon Ko, Seoul National University

The E-government processes for optimizing administrative streamline workflows, with cutting-edge process technologies and governance portals for web applications, enable citizens to participate in policy decision-making. Open Data refers to the information collected, reproduced or modified, and shared by many users. The use of the open Application Programming Interface (API) facilitates users to access a government source code, resulting in a boost in data volume for the government. However, a preliminary study found that users can access relatively few open data through open APIs in the public sector. In order to encourage a greater use of data through open APIs, there has to be a shift in focus, from increasing the quantity of open data, to enhancing its overall quality and accessibility.

Since 2013, the Korean government has released data that has been compiled over the years, along with an initiative called Government 3.0, which unlocks data in the key public interest sectors. Having released more than 20,000 data sets for 698 agencies, Korea is ranked first among the OECD member countries, with regard to data openness. However, to date, the focus has been on data volume in the public sector, rather than on the quality of the open API documentation, which is the key to utilizing open APIs. In addition, there are large discrepancies across open APIs provided by each department of government. In light of the utilization gap among them, it is critical to know how the various factors affect the utilization gap. In this paper, information regarding portal traffic statistics will be collected by web crawling from the national open data portal and analyzed to determine (1) whether there are discrepancies between the data volume and utilization, indicated by two factors: the number of open APIs downloaded and the API key to track API requests, (2) which factors cause the discrepancies, and (3) whether different factors explain the different types of discrepancies in the department of government and the characteristics of the data.

Together, the findings from the utilization gap of open APIs provide valuable insight into how we can leverage innovative technologies. With more data being institutionalized and utilized in line with potentially unlimited possibilities, there are more opportunities for the public sector to convert data into ideas and ideas into impact. Users interested in utilizing open APIs to analyze the current state and participating in decision-making based on ample data often face difficulties in using it. This study focuses on effective data management for optimal utilization, considering accessibility and standardization in the public sector while determining the factors causing the utilization gap.